Jess Hull takes the lead for Australia in the Mixed 4x2km Relay at the World Cross Country Championships Bathurst 23 (© Getty Images)
It took a 2km ”hot lap” at Bathurst for perennial 1500m finalist Jessica Hull to finally win a medal at a major championships when she was part of the Australian relay team that won bronze at the World Cross Country titles.
Hull - who was 11th at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, eighth at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games and seventh at the 2022 Eugene Worlds Championships - was the standout performer for the Australians in Bathurst.
The 26-year-old was the second of four Australian runners in the mixed team relay around the challenging 2km Cross Country course at Bathurst and took her team from third to first place in a scintillating run.
As a primary school girl Hull had started her athletics career running in 2km events at cross country carnivals.
“It’s kind of scary. It was part of my school sports days and it was 2km. So it’s kind of a full circle moment … a 2km hot lap of the Bathurst course,” she said.
Reigning Commonwealth 1500m men’s champion Oliver Hoare ran a strong first leg putting the Australians in third place behind South Africa and Kenya.
“For me it was about trying to stay in medal contention and be in a good position to hand over to Jess,” Hoare said after the race.
Hull passed the South Africans and Kenyans to hand over to 1500m specialist Stewart McSweyn in first place, but McSweyn was eventually run down by leading Kenyan Kyumbe Munguti and Getnet Wale from Ethiopia.
McSweyn handed over to Commonwealth 1500m bronze medallist Abbey Caldwell in third place and the 21-year old from Box Hill in Melbourne held on to ensure a bronze medal for Australia.
“There’s guys put in a great race and set it up perfectly for me to carry it home,” Caldwell said.
Hull said the Australia team were delighted to take out the bronze medal in this unique cross country relay event on home soil.
“It’s the first at medals at a world championships for all of us. We are all very happy,” she said.
By Mike Osborne for WXC Bathurst 23